E-cigarette rules go into effect

New rules about e-cigarettes went into effect Feb. 6, with a partial ban on some flavored products in the U.S. market.

The Trump administration announced it would ban flavored vaping products in September 2019, after thousands of lung diseases associated with e-cigarette use were reported across the country, as well as dozens of deaths. While President Trump backed off the original hard line ban, the administration moved forward with a plan to prohibit the sale of some products as they undergo review from the FDA.

The lung illness linked to vaping was named e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) by the CDC, which also narrowed down vitamin E acetate as the potential chemical causing health harm and death. Patients with EVALI were reported to present with shortness of breath, fever, chills, cough, chest tightness, belly pain and more.

As of Jan. 28, 2020, 2,711 hospitalized EVALI cases were reported in the U.S., according to the CDC. Sixty deaths have occurred. The spread of the illness prompted CMS to create a new ICD-10 code for healthcare providers, starting April 1.

The new e-cigarette sale rules do not apply to menthol or tobacco flavors of vaping products, and the rule only affect cartridge-based e-cigarettes. Companies are required to stop manufacturing, distributing and selling fruit and mint flavored vaping products.

Critics of the rule say it doesn’t go far enough, with menthol being one of the most popular flavors on the market. E-cigarettes have sparked major concern over the last few years, as huge numbers of young people use them and their long-term health impacts are unknown.